Pedalling into Steveston’s Future
It is unlikely that any Steveston business owner other than Brett Martyniuk can claim to be a fourth generation Steveston merchant.
The Martyniuk family planted roots in this community in the late 1930s when Brett’s great-grandfather Peter Martyniuk founded Steveston Barbers. He operated his shop in the same location that Village Bikes now calls home. Brett points out his great-grandfather cut hair in the front of the store and lived in the back of the building.
His grandparents, Gabe and Marg Martyniuk, owned Island Cleaners for approximately forty years. It was situated in the space that now masquerades as the storefront “Any Given Sundae” on the television show Once Upon A Time.
Brett’s parents Ray and Elaine Martyniuk founded and ran Cannery Row Cafe in the mid-1980s, and today his father is the owner and operator of Steveston Water Taxi.
It seems Brett was destined to follow his family’s entrepreneurial path. In May 2007, after sensing there was a demand for a local bicycle shop, he opened Village Bikes.
The bike shop started off selling used bikes and providing repair services and after a short time introduced new bicycles. Norco, Giant and Linus are the primary brands carried, with a focus on families and urban cyclists. Brett points out if a customer is seeking a specific bike model he is more than happy to order it.
Amongst the selection of children’s bikes the balance bike is a popular pick for toddlers. It helps pave the way for their first big kid bike, while eliminating the need to progress to training wheels. Brett says, “Once balance is mastered, learning to pedal is a breeze.”
The front section of the store stocks a variety of accessories to keep every cycling enthusiast happy. Stylish Linus wicker baskets are the perfect finishing touch to add to a cruiser and will help carry your farmers’ market goodies, or a beach towel and a picnic to your destination. Locks, lights and bells all help to personalize your bike.
Nutcase is a fun and popular helmet out of Portland, Oregon. These “brain protectors” comes in a number of styles. Brett indicates the watermelon model is one of their bestsellers.
The American made front mounted iBert Safe-T Seat perches little riders (ages 4 and younger) at the front of their parents’ bike. This allows children to take in the scenery around them rather than a rear-mounted seat where they view mum or dad’s back, and allows for easier communication.
Another way to enjoy the experience of “a bicycle built for two” is by adding a tow bar between the child’s and parent’s bike, and presto, it becomes similar to a tandem, with the parent controlling the steering.
In the back of the store Pierre Bertin competently manages the bike shop’s service department. Annual tune-ups are encouraged to ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Flat tire? With a quick fix and a minimal charge of $10, you will be back in the saddle again.
Steveston is a perfect place to cycle. Not only is it flat, but it also offers bike trails galore from kilometres of dike paths to the Railway Avenue corridor that has been embraced by cyclists and pedestrians alike. If you prefer riding on the road there are bike lanes integrated into Richmond’s streets to encourage this environmentally friendly mode of commuting.
Brett sees a steady stream of couples and families inquiring about his bike rental service. For $10 an hour (or $30 for a full day) a bike is at your disposal to discover the area. Armed with a free map, customers venture off to explore the dike trails, parks and historic sites.
Brett is a proud local ambassador and encourages visitors to loop back to Steveston village for lunch where they will find some of the best restaurants in Richmond.
“When I was growing up it seemed Steveston was a bit of a secret, not a lot of people from outside of Richmond knew where it was. That’s definitely changed with more people moving to Steveston, Lower Mainlanders coming out for day trips and an increase in tourism.”
When asked what he loves most about running his business Brett replies, “I enjoy building relationships within an awesome community.” Although he has taken a break from Steveston to live in Vancouver he does not dismiss the likelihood of returning to his stomping grounds, as he knows it is a great place to raise a family.
This summer Brett and Village Bikes shop manager Graeme Burns are first time participants in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which benefits the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The epic two-day 200-kilometre journey to Seattle takes place on August 29-30, 2015.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer is an annual charity fundraiser held in various locations across Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This event is particularly close to Brett’s heart as he lost his mother to cancer in 2013.
“I’m looking forward to doing the ride with thousands of other people who’ve been affected by cancer in so many different ways.”
The Village Bike team hopes to raise $5,000 through a combined effort of online fundraising (www.conquercancer.ca) and by donating a percentage of their spring bike tune-up revenue to the event.
As for Brett’s personal training, his commute to Steveston from Vancouver by bike, combined with rides up Burnaby Mountain and through the University Endowment Lands is preparing him for the monumental journey ahead. And in true Steveston-style, his hometown will inevitably be cheering him on!
3891 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A7